Pennsylvania court upholds man's right to give 'the finger'

Pennsylvania court upholds man's right to give 'the finger'
Posted at 5:46 PM, Nov 03, 2016

An appeals court in Pennsylvania has overturned a man’s 2014 probation sentence for flashing his ex-wife the middle finger. in Pittsburgh reports that Superior Court of Pennyslvania overturned Jason Waugaman’s disorderly conduct charge stemming from his hand gesture during an argument with his ex-wife in 2014.

After dropping off his children at his ex’s apartment, Waugaman accelerated his car towards her and swerved just before hitting her. He flashed his middle finger as he sped out of the parking lot.

Waugaman was found not guilty of reckless endangerment, but was found guilty of disorderly conduct. The judge cited the hand gesture in his decision.

However, the decision was overturned in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania Monday, with one judge writing “the finger” is protected under freedom of speech.

“Unless the First Amendment was repealed when I was not looking, giving someone the finger should not constitute a crime,” wrote Senior Justice Eugene B. Strassburger in a short concurring opinion, according to

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.